Depression in treated narcotic addicts, ex-addicts, nonaddicts, and suicide attempters: Validation of a very brief depression scale

Jim Mintz, Charles P. O'brien, George Woody, Aaron T. Beck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Samples of heroin-addicted veterans in treatment at a VA drug clinic, ex-addict and nonaddict Vietnam veterans followed-up after return to the United States, and male suicide attempters who were not drug abusers completed a very short (five item) form of the Beck Depression Inventory developed for screening and research purposes. Results confirmed prior findings of high rates of depression among narcotic addicts in treatment. Two samples of patients assessed at intake to treatment did not differ significantly from the suicidal patients in BDI-S scores. Methadone maintenance patients and ex-addicts scored below those groups, but higher than nonaddicts. Relief of inner tensions or worries was chosen most frequently as the reason for continuing use of narcotics by patients in treatment, suggesting that self-medication for psychiatric problems may be common. The BDI-S proved to be an efficient method for screening for depression in these samples, and thus might be useful in clinical or research settings when a very brief method is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-396
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Volume6
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1979
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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